Rhodiola is a plant. The root is used as medicine.
Rhodiola is used for many conditions, but so far, there isn't enough scientific evidence to determine whether or not it is effective for any of them.
Rhodiola is used for increasing energy, stamina, strength and mental capacity; and as a so-called “adaptogen” to help the body adapt to and resist physical, chemical, and environmental stress. It is also used for improving athletic performance, shortening recovery time after long workouts, improving sexual function; for depression; and for heart disorders such as irregular heartbeat and high cholesterol.
Some people use rhodiola for treating cancer, tuberculosis, and diabetes; preventing cold and flu, aging, and liver damage; improving hearing; strengthening the nervous system; and enhancing immunity.
Rhodiola is native to the arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and Alaska. It has a long history of use as a medicinal plant in Iceland, Sweden, France, Russia, and Greece. It is mentioned by the Greek physician Dioscorides as early as the first century AD.
Some people use the term “arctic root” as the general name for this product; however, arctic root is actually a trademarked name for a specific commercial extract.
How it works
Rhodiola extracts might help protect cells from damage, regulate heartbeat, and have the potential for improving learning and memory. However, none of these effects have been studied in humans.
Not ProvenAltitude sickness
There is unclear evidence on the effect of rhodiola for preventing altitude sickness. In an early study, taking rhodiola twice daily improved sleep quality and oxygen absorption in to the blood as well as an altitude sickness medication (acetazolamide) in adults living at high altitudes. Another study found that rhodiola did not improve symptoms.
There is conflicting evidence on the effectiveness of rhodiola in improving athletic performance.
Early research suggests that rhodiola might provide some benefits in bladder cancer, but does not reduce the risk for relapse.
Early research shows that taking rhodiola might improve symptoms of depression after 6 weeks of treatment in people with mild-to-moderately severe depression.
Early evidence suggests that rhodiola might decrease fatigue in stressful situations. A specific rhodiola extract seems to decrease fatigue and increase a sense of well-being in students taking exams, night-shift workers, and sleep-deprived military cadets.
Early evidence suggests that specific rhodiola extract (Rhodax) might lower anxiety in people with a condition called generalized anxiety disorder.
An early study found that taking a product containing rhodiola (Immunoxel) daily for three months along with anti-tuberculosis therapy provided beneficial results. The effect of rhodiola alone is unclear.
Rhodiola is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth, short-term (for up to 6-10 weeks). The safety of long-term use is not known. The potential side effects of rhodiola are not known.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information about the safety of taking Rhodiola if you arepregnantorbreast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.Are there any interactions with medications?
Escitalopram is changed and broken down by the body. Rhodiola might change how the body breaks down some medications. Taking rhodiola along with escitalopram might increase the side effects of escitalopram. Before taking rhodiola, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the body.Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Rhodiola might increase how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking rhodiola along with some medications that are changed by the liver can decrease the effectiveness of some medications. Before taking rhodiola, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.Some of these medications that are changed by the liver include include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.Rhodiola might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking rhodiola along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), and others.Using rhodiola with drugs that lower blood pressure can increase the effects of these drugs and may lower blood pressure too much.Some medications for high blood pressure include include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.Some medications are moved by pumps in cells. Rhodiola can make these pumps more active and decrease how much of some medications get absorbed by the body. This might decrease the effectiveness of some medications.Some medications that are moved by these pumps include some chemotherapeutic agents (etoposide, paclitaxel, vinblastine, vincristine, vindesine), antifungals (ketoconazole, itraconazole), protease inhibitors (amprenavir, indinavir, nelfinavir, saquinavir), H2 antagonists (cimetidine, ranitidine), some calcium channel blockers (diltiazem, verapamil), corticosteroids, erythromycin, cisapride (Propulsid), fexofenadine (Allegra), cyclosporine, loperamide (Imodium), quinidine, and others.Rhodiola increases the activity of the immune system. Taking rhodiola along with medications that decrease the immune system might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.